The Gop Elite Gave Us This Party
This dire outcome was not inevitable: The best evidence we have suggests that the rise of the Big Lie is the direct result of strategic choices by Republican leaders.
A new paper by Dan Hopkins, a political scientist at the University of Pennsylvania, analyzes data from a panel survey, which looks at roughly the same group of people over time, running between 2007 and 2020. The survey asked people to rate the fairness of the US electoral system on a scale of 1 to 5, and tracked the changes over time.
What they found was a striking consistency: Support for the American system is both high and reasonably stable when assessed via this measure, Hopkins writes. Though there are some fluctuations, with partisans evaluating the system as somewhat less fair when the other party is in power, generally theyre small.
Hopkinss last survey wave was in October 2020 which means the results dont reflect the false allegations lobbed in the aftermath of Bidens victory. The stability documented here was very likely shattered by Trumps post-election actions, Hopkins concludes.
Other data confirm this supposition. A report from the Voter Study Group analyzed Pew surveys, conducted after every presidential election since 2004, on whether voters thought their vote was counted fairly. You see the same general stability documented in Hopkinss paper, with a majority of voters in both parties saying they were very confident their vote was counted accurately in every year except 2020:
Bu Today: Some Observers Argue That Local Republican Officials And Republican Judges Thwarted Trumps Attempt To Overturn The 2020 Election So We Arent Headed For Autocracy Any Validity To That Argument
Jonathan Zatlin:If you look at the interwar period, theres no question that the civil serviceespecially in Germany, where democracy was linked to economic crises and the defeat of the Warwas opposed to democracy. And thats simply not the case in the United States. I dont think that has anything to do with Republicans, actually I think its that weve all been taught that democracy is a really important value. That said, the last president did tryand it seems Republican parties locally as well as on the state level are tryingto put public officials into office who dont have democracy as a value, who believe violence is a legitimate part of public discourse, which it obviously isnt. Its a form of politics that is deeply disturbing, because it means the Republican Party has allied itself with antidemocratic values, violence, and racism.
Why Many Republicans Believe The Big Lie
By DAVID SIDERS
06/09/2022 07:00 PM EDT
Then-President Donald Trump waves to the crowd after speaking at a campaign event at the Kenosha Regional Airport Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in Kenosha, Wis. | Morry Gash/AP Photo
NO, REALLY, BLAME THE MEDIA While we wait for the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol and former President Donald Trumps effort to overturn the 2020 election to begin its prime-time hearing, we have new research looking more closely at why so many people believe the lie that the election was stolen.
In short, it may be time for news outlets and their graphics departments to convene some hearings of their own.
Researchers at the Center for Media Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin interviewed 56 people who believed, falsely, that Trump most likely won the 2020 election.
What they learned, in a paper shared first with Nightly: These people do not exist in tightly sealed, right-wing echo chambers, and a majority did not seem to subscribe to multiple conspiracy theories. Instead, It appears that election night visuals were particularly powerful in cueing some peoples suspicions, says the paper, written by Talia Stroud, a professor of communication studies at the University of Texas at Austin, Caroline Murray, a senior research associate at the universitys Center for Media Engagement, and Marley Duchovnay, a research associate there.
How susceptible to a lie like this do you think people may be in future elections?
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In 2009 Republicans Predicted That The Economic Stimulus Package Would Only Make The Recession Worse And Cause More Unemployment
The results show they couldnât have been more wrong. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 ended the recession after only a few months. Although 750,000 people were losing their jobs each month when Obama took office, after the Recovery Act was passed the rate of job loss immediately decreased each month and within a year the economy showed positive job growth.
Considering the severity of the 2008 economic collapse and the total opposition by Republicans to do anything at all to stimulate the economy, it is remarkable that the US economy recovered as quickly as it did.
Looking at the rate of job loss and job creation, its easy to see that the stimulus of 2009 was highly successful in stopping the job losses and turning the economy around.
Politicians Policy Falsehoods Seen As Justifiable Based On Their Signal Of Partisan Trustworthiness
Society recognizes that many politicians lie. In five new studies, researchers examined how conservative and liberal Americans responded to media reports of politicians falsehoods. Even accounting for partisan biases in how much people dismissed the reports as fake news and assumed the lies were unintentional, the studies consistently identified partisan evaluations in how much these falsehoods were considered justifiable. The researchers workwhich also touches on issues of trustworthiness and morality more generallyhas implications for understanding the current hyperpolarized U.S. political climate.
The studies, by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of California, Berkeley, appear in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
Our study suggests that who tells a falsehood, what the falsehood is about, and who is listening all help predict how people explain and evaluate politicians who do not speak the truth, explains Jeff Galak, Associate Professor of Marketing at CMUs Tepper School of Business, who led the study. In so doing, the study emphasizes that the moral acceptability of bearing false witness really depends on the extent to which such falsehoods are used in support of or against the explicit aims of ones political group.
The research was funded in part by the National Science Foundation.
Times Republicans Were Wrong
Itâs no secret that politicians tend to use exaggerated political rhetoric to get people to vote for them. In recent decades, Republicans have repeatedly made very ominous predictions about the horrors that will result from Democratic policies while painting a rosy picture of what will result from Republican policies. Now we have the luxury of looking back over the years to examine those predictions and policies. Below, you will find twenty-one examples of times Republicans were blatantly wrong.
Trump Supporters Explain Why They Believe The Big Lie
For many of Trumps voters, the belief that the election was stolen is not a fully formed thought. Its more of an attitude, or a tribal pose.
About the author: Sarah Longwell is the executive director of Republicans for the Rule of Law, publisher of The Bulwark, andhost of the Focus Group podcast.
Some 35 percent of Americansincluding 68 percent of Republicansbelieve the Big Lie, pushed relentlessly by former President Donald Trump and amplified by conservative media, that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. They think that Trump was the true victor and that he should still be in the White House today.
I regularly host focus groups to better understand how voters are thinking about key political topics. Recently, I decided to find out why Trump 2020 voters hold so strongly to the Big Lie.
For many of Trumps voters, the belief that the election was stolen is not a fully formed thought. Its more of an attitude, or a tribal pose. They know something nefarious occurred but cant easily explain how or why. Whats more, theyre mystified and sometimes angry that other people dont feel the same.
As a woman from Wisconsin told me, I cant really put my finger on it, but something just doesnt feel right. A man from Pennsylvania said, Something about it just didnt seem right. A man from Arizona said, It didnt smell right.
Perhaps thats because the Big Lie has been part of their background noise for years.
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The Real And Far Scarier Reason Republicans Think Biden Is Illegitimate
Many conservatives dont think the 2020 election was stolen. But they believe democracy itself has betrayed America, by allowing the wrong people to take charge
Earlier this month, Team Trump claimed in court that their efforts to nullify Joe Bidens victory could not possibly have been fraudulent or be described as a criminal conspiracy, because those in and around the White House had merely been acting on the basis of sincerely held suspicions.
This sparked the latest round in the never-ending debate over whether or not Republicans actually believe that the election was stolen from them. Politically, it is important to push back against the opportunistic ways in which Republicans up and down the country have been using the big lie. But if we are trying to understand what is animating the rights rapidly accelerating radicalization against democracy, binary assumptions of Republicans as either true believers or power-hungry cynics are not very helpful and actually obscure more than they illuminate. In some fundamental way, Republicans are both. What we really need to grapple with is why so many Republicans are convinced the outcome of the election was illegitimate regardless of whether or not there were specific procedural irregularities.
They Can’t Avoid The Trump Stench And They Know It
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
In the past, presidents have told big lies mostly for one of two reasons. In the midst of scandal or failure, they told lies to protect themselves and deny that they had done wrong: I am not a crook, we did not trade arms for hostages, I did not have sexual relations with that woman. Or they lied to convince the public to go along with a policy initiative, whether a war or a tax cut or a new program, when the truth was insufficiently persuasive.
Unlike his predecessors, President Trump lies for any reason at all.
I imagine the sinking feeling his aides get when he blurts out another whopper. “Now I’m going to have to go out and defend this,” they say with a sigh, then huddle together to arrive at the least laughable spin they can come up with, so they can rationalize the lie which Trump will of course be unwilling to retreat from.
White House staff have little choice but to reinforce, justify, and repeat their boss’ lies, though I suppose they could retain some shred of dignity and integrity by quitting. But what about Trump’s fellow Republicans, particularly the ones in Congress? They’re in an uncomfortable position, knowing that he’s still popular with the GOP base and so not having his back could have electoral costs. Being a “maverick” might sound appealing, but not when it’s going to cost you lots of votes or hinder your ability to work with the rest of the party on your legislative priorities.
Donald J. Trump
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In 1993 When The Brady Law And The Assault Weapons Ban Were Passed Republicans Predicted Increasing Rates Of Crime And Murder
Thankfully, just the opposite happened. While the rate of violent crime had increased steadily from the 1970s into the 1990s, it suddenly began to drop after 1993 and continued to decline for more than ten years. What could have happened in 1993 to precipitate such a sudden and prolonged drop in crime? Thats the year Congress passed the Assault Weapons Ban and the Brady Law, which mandated background checks and a waiting period to buy a gun.
Despite Republican predictions to the contrary, the Brady Law and the Assault Weapons Ban were followed by the most dramatic reduction in violent crime since the FBI started keeping statistics. The graphs below, based on the actual numbers from the FBI Uniform Crime Reports website, show how the rates of murder and violent crime in the US dropped suddenly after the 1993 Brady Law and Assault Weapons Ban were passed.
These charts show the rate of murder and violent crime over 35 years based on numbers from the FBI Uniform Crime reports.
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Lie #: We Want To Make America Great Again
By setting the clock back 50 years to a time when America was just as divided as it is today? If that was the MAGA goal all along, they’ve accomplished their mission. We see them and we see through them. Since the start of the Trump years, the immoral majority of elected Republican politicians and candidates haven’t been about representing the will of the American people, the majority of whom do not want Roe v. Wade overturned. They’ve been all about winning, and apparently, they will do anything and tell any lie to keep and get themselves employed.
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Lie # : Democrats Are Pedophiles
If you can lie to yourself and everyone else by deeming January 6 a “normal tourist visit” day at the Capitol, then it probably isn’t such a leap to defend Putin as a hero in the face of supposed Ukrainian aggression or to defame Democrats as child predators. Who comes up with this stuff? Oh, yes, Q’Anon conspiracy theorists who call Critical Race Theory divisive while feeding unfathomable crap to the Trump base they think will keep them in power. I’m generally not interested in the sexual proclivities of Trump Republicans, but I know enough about cults to know that if anyone is likely to feed off their young by accelerating their sexual awakening, it’s the ones who wake up and go to sleep chanting the name of a demagogue.
Psychological Motivations For Believing The Big Lie
In the Three Field Study, Cialdini et al. show that students had a greater tendency to wear their schools apparel after a football team victory than a defeat and were more likely to use the word we when describing a win than a loss. In a related set of experiments, Hirt et al. show that, after observing their team win, fans have higher levels of self-esteem and enhanced performance on certain cognitive tasks. This behavior has been labeled bask in reflected glory . The obverse tendency is known as CORFingcutting off reflected failure. People dissociate themselves with perceived losers to manage their own identities and self-concepts . Partisan ties in American politics operate through similar identity-based mechanisms , and some researchers theorize that the winnerslosers gap in satisfaction after elections may reflect losing voters attempts to cope with a hit to their social identity .
Figure 6 Identification with Trump and Self-Esteem over Time among Republicans.
Notes: Letters mark significant political events: D = Election Day, Nov. 3 M = race called by news networks, Nov. 7 L = Trump invites Michigan legislators to White House, Nov. 24 B = Barr says no evidence of fraud, Dec. 2 E = Electoral College certifies Biden, Dec. 15 C = Capitol insurrection, Jan. 7 I = Inauguration Day, Jan. 20. Line segments represent 95% confidence intervals. All data drawn from Election Legitimacy Tracking Survey .
Figure 7 Results of Conjoint Experiment
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Lies Damned Lies And The Truth About Joe Biden
Joe BidenKentucky state lawmakers vote to scrap school mask mandateArkansas governor pushes back against Bidenâs vaccine mandateRNC vows to sue over Biden vaccine, testing mandateMORE. I know him, said the House Speaker authoritatively, and that was that.
Does Bidens record warrant such confidence? Not really. In fact, Biden has a long history of lying about himself, about his past and about events that never took place.
Democrats want the 2020 campaign to be a referendum on President Trump. Fine, but if this is to be a contest of characters, it is only appropriate that Joe Bidens history of fabrication and deceit often intended to bolster his intellectual credentials also be fair game.
Over the past year, Biden thundered that the Obama administration didnt lock people up in cages. He also claimed that, Immediately, the moment started, I came out against it. And I was always labeled one of the most liberal members of Congress. Politicos rating of all three assertions? False.
No one should be surprised. Lest we forget
A video is making the rounds in which Biden boasts at a 1987 rally, âI went to law school on a full academic scholarship ended up in the top half of my class.â
Biden also maintained that he âgraduated with three degrees from undergraduate schoolâ and was the outstanding student in the political science department.
That commentary holds up well, as today more than ever Biden blunders into conversational crevasses, with no way out.
Here Are A Few More Things Republicans Have Been Wrong About:
- Republicans said that Obamacare would have death panels to decide who would live and who would die. Wrong. No such death panels were ever proposed and nothing of the kind ever happened.
- They said the 2009 laws to improve automobile fuel efficiency standards would kill the US auto industry. Wrong. The new standards were followed by a resurgence of the US auto industry enabling them to hire back tens of thousands of workers.
- They said environmental protection laws requiring companies to clean up their pollution would create an undue burden and kill businesses. Nope, it never happened.
- They said Ebola would spread across the country because President Obama allowed American Ebola patients to be treated in the US. The outbreak never happened. Only three people contracted Ebola in the US and all three survived.
- They said President Obama would open our borders to illegal immigrants. Wow, were they wrong about that. Under Obama, we set new records for most illegal immigrants stopped at the border and sent home.
- They said Obama would drive up the Federal budget deficit. That didnât happen. Obama cut the $1.4 trillion deficit he inherited by two-thirds.
While someone could no doubt find instances where Democrats engage in over-the-top rhetoric, nothing compares to the consistently false and erroneous claims made by the GOP in recent years. When a political party has been so dismally wrong about nearly everything over the past 30 years, that party should lose all credibility.
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